Friday, September 23, 2016

BLACK MOUNTAIN: IV
Here's a famous quote that comes to mind when I hear Black Mountain: Black Mountain doesn't care what you want to hear; they just play what they want to play.  The result is a really original take on hippy rock, with several classics on each of their albums.  A lot of Black Mountain tunes are a bit too mellow for me, but I sure do respect their sincerity, originality and musical ability.  Here's one of my favorites from IV, "Mothers of the Sun."  Stick with this one; takes three and a half minutes for guitar to reappear after the intro, but it's worth the wait.  I love the album's trippy vibe, tasteful fuzz guitar sound and Stephen McBean's soloing around 4:40.
Here's "Constellations".  In addition to the cool guitar sound and hint of cowbell, I love the trading off between Stephen and Amber Webber on vocals.  Their voices complement each other even more than usual on this one.

Black Mountain are (right to left I believe):
Stephen McBean - lead vocals, backup vocals, guitars, claps, synth, percussion, keyboards 
Arjan Miranda - bass, bass synth, guitar, bass pedals, ebow guitar 
Jeremy Schmidt - synths, bass synth, sequences, hammond, vocoder, mellotron, 
Amber Webber - lead vocals, claps 
Joshua Wells - drums, percussion, claps, piano, synth, rhodes piano, backup vocals, sequences, bass synth, phase rhodes, wurlitzer 

Other performers: 
Warren Hill - backup vocals 
Eyvind Kang - viola and violin (Line Them All Up) 
Josiah Boothby - french horn (Line Them All Up)


For those of you that prefer it less trippy and more heavy, I've got you covered next weekend.  
Until then - ULTRA

Grownman's Fast Finds

I'm back, the summer is over. Fast Finds for the start of Autumn. I review some recent stuff from New England where our office is located. I even review a former chili pepper....hmmm..how bout that? Yeah, let's get this bitch started, pedal to the floor, wastelands all around. If we're all going to hell in a hand basket, might as well have some tunes to carry us through.


Russian Circles - Guidance

Russian Circles are killing it on Guidance, when have Russian Circles not killed it? The most consistent band so many people have no clue about. One of the most entertaining instrumental Metal bands on the scene. The music is difficult to describe in words. You just need to check them out and understand....

Thrawsunblat - Metacthonia

Thrawsunblat lead by legendary Woods of Ypres guitarist Joel Violette have been a tour de force for years in the Canadian metal underground. (Thrawsunblat were originally formed prior to Woods of Ypres.)Thrawsunblat bring together elements of black, folk and maritime metal. Much of their music celebrates their atmospheric surroundings. This album is no different as it explores the "epoch after the age of the earth". If you long to run from the political discussions on social media and live in the woods behind your house or local big box store, charge your digital music device and load up this album.

John Frusciante - The Empyrean
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLTCLs3efGI
While working on some freelance design work at home I was reduced to trying to find something different to check out that may be great to have on as background music. I found this Frusciante solo album on youtube randomly and decided to give it a go......holy shit...how did I never hear of this album? Talk about pulling at the heart strings. Maybe it took the near death episodes of drug addiction and overdoses for John Frusciante to be able to pulloff such passionate and heavenly tones. I don't believe I've ever used those words to describe any album on here before. Check out this album, it's a few years old but sounds as relevant as anything the rest of chili pepper brethren have put out in years.

III - Lines and Lands
https://threeparallellines.bandcamp.com/

Dark, atmospheric metal from Italy. Self described as a DIY aka Hand crafted project, we get to hear a nice mix of clean atmospheric instrumentation that's inevitably pulled down into a maelstrom of black metal shreeks and riffage. The production is somewhat raw which makes the music feel a bit more dangerous and primal. The band sold out it's original pressing only charging the price it took to create the album. I give a band a lot of credit for putting their love of the music in the forefront. Give this band a listen, an album where both beauty and horror mingle and exist well together.

Wreak - The Pursuit of Peace Through Excessive Violence

Straight out of Providence, Wreak have been quickly cutting a path of violence across the Southern New England area over the past year. I've been following Rob Cinami's (drummer for Wreak) career for some time now and Wreak seems to be the perfect vehicle for his atomic battery of percussive power. With thrashy rhythms for days and abrasive enough vocals to peel the paint off a steel tank, Wreak are serious contenders to take over a scene chockfull of heavyweights. Highly recommend the heavy metal brethren of the greater New England area to make the trek to wherever they are playing next. While you're at it check out their latest cd! It's what the kids call "straight up fire"....up your ass....that's why I say. My favorite track: The Great & Mighty..........really you can't go wrong on this album.

Cyborg Journals - War Torn

After a few failed attempts to review this album Cyborg Journals put up this album on Bandcamp.
I hadn't heard much from the band before and I try not figure out a band just based on their genre tags. I threw it on and immediately started scratching my head. Is this metal, avante gard art rock or does it remind me of another band. Half way through, I started thinking of Voivod. Voivod are all over the map from one album to the next. This stuff is pretty diverse and the album becomes increasingly more interesting as it reaches later tracks. While I do prefer a little more polish to production, something about the imperfections actually help the tracks. The vocals range from contemplative to late 90's metal shrieking. There is a blend of psychedelic rock, industrial metal and gothic overtones throughout. The album succeeds in the moments when it's most focused and a bit faster paced. Fine tuning and mixing could benefit the album in a big way. Check it out and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Opeth - Will O The Wisp

Will O The Wisp (Lyric Video)
Opeth
(SORCERESS, out September 30, 2016 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment / Moderbolaget Records)




Opeth has been on a progressive slant for several albums now. The change began on Ghost Reveries and has been a major component of the last two albums. So much so that I was driven away from being a fan of the band til I heard the most recent tracks off Sorceress. While I found most of the last two albums lacking a hook or even a comfortable rhythm that was listenable this is pure magic to the ears. The band has finally produced music that clearly would've fit in the sleepy prog era of the 70's. The transition is complete and thanks to bands like Ghost, I think fans will be more welcoming of this sound. There is no shrieking or true heaviness that fans of early Opeth are familiar with. I hear parts Jethro Tull and a solo fit for a Pink Floyd album. This is worth a listen and maybe a chance for the old diehards to lighten up on their critical arguments of the band.

Friday, September 16, 2016

LOTD! Knocked Loose's "Laugh Tracks"

This track isn't nothing to laugh at....man this will really knock something loose in ya..pardon the pun. (thanks to Eddie Sherman for the heads up on this track)



Friday, September 9, 2016

EIGHTEEN WHEELS BURNING: Dark All Day
SECRET FORMULA: GUITAR, BASS & DRUMS

Eighteen Wheels Burning's sound could be called "throwback", "bare bones", "raw" and even "vintage."  They are just a 3-piece band with sincere enthusiasm for rocking out.  What might prevent  you from loving them right away is Jeff Mackey's vocals.  His real talent is bass, and at times Jeff's voice sounds amateur and slightly off-key.  But when the band's sound and strong songwriting finally hook you (and they will), you'll realize that because the vocals are so average, you'll have no trouble singing along with them, increasing your enjoyment of the whole experience.

Here is the opening track, "Gorilla":

Now check out "Hard Times in NYC":
Eighteen Wheels Burning are:
Jeff Mackey: Bass, Vocals
Adam Valk: Guitar, Backup Vocals
Matt Cusack: Drums, Backup Vocals

You can buy "Dark All Day" here from CD Baby.

In case you didn't know, Jeff and guitarist Adam Valk are from New Jersey, and in the nineties were the driving musical force in a band called "The Want".  They had a singer (Kenneth Leer) who had a Robert Plant kind of quality to his voice.  But for me, Adam and Jeff stole the show in The Want, as they do in EWB.  Check out the guitar sound Adam pulls off, along with Jeff's perfectly complementary bass playing on "4 Pictures":

Got another cool one for next weekend.  Until then, over and out
-ULTRA

Thursday, September 8, 2016

LOTD! Tengger Cavalry's Cavalry in Thousands

TUVAN THROAT SINGING MEETS HEAVY METAL!!!!!!!

Vinyl Cape's The Glitter of Putrescence REVIEW

 

The Glitter of Putrescence
Vinyl Cape

Vinyl Cape are described as a New England based "post-rap, doom metal, proggy affectations and bloozy sleaze - guitar passages" project. Right off the bat, there is alot going on here and that description fits pretty well. Over the years, I've enjoyed many underground rap artists who've successfully combined many hard rock/metal elements in a seamless way. From Sage Francis to Ill Bill and all the Necros in between, they've been able to express their affection for both Hip Hop and Metal culture.


Before we get into the review, this is an interesting aside. Vinyl Cape's vocalist BRZOWSKI and I have some weird things in common. We share a similar group of friends and at one time in the early 2000's we were both employed at the same high school, teaching as substitutes for the SAME art class.

As small as the world is, we've never met and I've never actually listened to any of his projects. So when I received the link yesterday, I was going into this completely blind yet familiar. Does that make sense?


The Glitter of Putrescence is a great title. It nailsssss this collection of sleazy cool meets street nastiness wrapped in a bacon hide of glistening grissel. Brzowski vocals range from the cadence of Everlast(Death By Numbers) to the make your skin crawl pace of Marilyn Manson(Small Hours). That's truly a wide range. 


This album almost works as a stream of consciousness.  Vinyl Cape cast a wide net and in the process drag along with it sounds that seem to work together no matter how alien they are to each other. While not nearly as dark or referential as Ill Bill's Hour of Reprisal or Dalek's Absence, this album could definitely fit on the same shelf. 


As a guy who spends the very little spare time my schedule allows to watch videos about abandoned places and dead malls, the beautiful layer of dust and what's forgotten is new again-esque use of distorted riffs on tracks like Cthonic Youth and in the grandiose moments of Barren Orchard would make for a great soundtrack to those type of visuals. Speaking of Barren Orchard, the little creepy black metal vocals wedged into the track totally bring back my love for the tone of early Mushroomhead albums.


Let's cut to the track that I've listened to the most, Small Hours. There is a total Mike Patton vibe going on here. I enjoy that it is the first track on the album that doesn't incorporate the hip hop vocals. The organ and distorted riffs set the table as this is a beast of a tune that creeps out of a cavernous tomb.


Roll over Cerberus returns to the Everlast "Whitey Ford" style hip hop that combines a slight sprinkling of southern music along with a "shake your ass slowly to the beat" groove. The title track has a very epic intro that transitions into a real amalgamation of hip hop meets rock soaked in a jack daniels molotov cocktail. Something like this isn't written by someone who doesn't live on a steady diet of Johnny Cash albums and underground hip hop albums.


The most surprising track on the album is it's last, The Severed Head of John The Baptist. The vibe lives somewhere between the sonic doom of Monster Magnet and the raw intensity of early sabbath. It's a grand send off for the listener who's just been on one hell of a ride. 


I make an effort not to grade albums but to express how the listening experience of the album affected me. For me this is an album I'd want to make myself. This isn't a pop record nor is it totally an artsy album either. If you enjoy a wide range of music, you're gonna dig the shit out of this album and like me quickly listen to my favorite tracks immediately after the first spin. If you're range is strictly in metal you'll want to skip around the album but I can assure you there is plenty for you to still enjoy. Overall this is an album that could be a great gateway drug into opening your mind to a world where hip hop mingles with metal and doom on the same beautiful and demented landscape.

 Check out a track or maybe preorder the cd or digital download at http://vinylcape.bandcamp.com/

Zack De La Rocha returns wth the track "Digging for Windows"


Check out the latest from Zack De La Rocha(Rage Against the Machine). The track "Digging for Windows" is off his upcoming solo album. The track was produced by underground hip hop artist EL-P.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Exclusive "ME"TAL 101 w/ Terry Glaze

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to reach out to Terry Glaze about his career and his new album "TOO LATE NOW"with Raised By Gods. Terry Glaze may be known to many of you as the vocalist of Pantera prior to Phil Anselmo joining the band. You may not know that he went on to put together a series of great albums with his band Lord Tracy and continues to create music with long time friend Mike Herrington as the recording project Raised By Gods. Recently they released "TOO LATE NOW" and it's a great rock album. For fans of the Beatles and Cheap Trick like myself you will enjoy the spirit of this album. You'll find notes about the album's production dispersed in this conversation and we'll delve into a few of the tracks I was really digging at the time we were chatting. So lets get into this awesome interview with Terry Glaze and check out the links to order the cd for yourself.

HMT: Hello Terry, I appreciate your time speaking with us and answering some of our questions.

Terry: My pleasure

HMT: I love the new album, I found it a few days ago which inspired me to look you up.

Terry: thanks again. mike and i are really happy with the way it came out.

HMT: Please tell me about your new album with Raised By Gods "Too Late Now". I really dig the groove of the album especially on tracks like "Nothing Left to Say" and the title track. I feel an overall theme dealing with ups and downs of relationships. Is the album inspired about experiences in your past or what's going on now in life?

Terry: I get inspired by everything around me, especially relationship ups & downs. i have to credit the grooves to mike. 

HMT: Raised By Gods is a departure from the more party starting side of Lord Tracy. Its groove is dark and more personal. Do you feel working and recording with various entities allows you to exercise demons that wouldn't necessarily fit with other projects?

Terry: every project is different. i'm so lucky to play with great musicians who inspire in a unique way.

HMT:  I keep hearing a Beatles or Cheap Trick influence on tracks like "Problem"? Were the Beatles or Cheap Trick early influences growing up?

Terry: they are numbers 1 & 2 on my list. i grew up listening to my mom's beatles records. cheap trick are my favorite band and the reason i wanted to be a musician.

HMT: The album artwork is striking, can you tell me a bit on how you chose the artwork for this album?

Terry: my daughter evelyn studies anthropology and ancient teeth. the cover was her idea, i love it too. thanks
_____________________________________________________________________
This is a good time to take a short break and provide some notes about the album before we proceed to more specific questions.
Album Notes:
"Too Late Now" is the 2016 release by the band Raised By GodsRaised By Gods is: Terry Glaze (Pantera/Lord Tracy) and Mike Herrington.Mike records the drums in L.A., then sends the tracks to Terry on the east coast. Terry writes songs to Mike’s drums, plays all the other instruments, and then sends the finished tunes back to Mike, where Mike hears the song for the first time. Then Terry sends the tracks to Neil Kernon in Chicago, where Neil makes it sound kick ass! This is the second release from Raised By Gods. 2011 was our debut disc
____________________________________________________________________

HMT: While I have your ear, I've delved into the album and I have a few specific songs I'd like to ask you about.

Wake Me Up - I'm usually a stickler for listening to an album in the order the artist creates it but I'm sure happy this is the first track I heard off this. The guitar distortion is a real highlight on this track. Please tell me about you came up with this sound, rig or pedal recommendation? Did you have to do any experimentation to get the sound or is it just another tool in your repertoire?

Terry: that's the jack white bumble buzz by union tube & transistor. i plugged in that pedal & the riff was one of the first things that came out.

HMT: 
Problem - I was thinking about how you write the music to Mike's drums and this song really stuck out to me. I tried listening to the main beats and I was pretty impressed on how everything seems really cohesive. How finished is everything prior to getting in the hands of Neil?

Terry: that's the arrangement mike played, i just played to mike's track like he was in the room with me. i finish all the tracks and then send everything to neil kernon in chicago where neil takes it all and makes it sound kick-ass!

HMT:
White Lamb Fluffy Bunny - I love the old school vibe of this track. I found myself rocking out in my chair to this. As I get older(41), I find myself getting more into the stuff my parents listened to and exposed my ears to as a kid. This harkens back to the early days of rock and roll. When you first heard the beat did you automatically think of this style and era? Is this one of the tunes you include in your live set?

Terry: that's me doing dwight yoakam doing the beatles. i try and play that song every gig.

HMT:
Red Dress Woman - I absolutely love this tune. It's got a bluesy style that I've been missing for some time. I was thinking of my love for bands like Arc Angels and Eric Gales band while vibing out to this. Most people know you for your vocals but man you are an amazing guitarist.
Since you are building the song around the drums how much leeway does a song like this give you to just lay down those tasty licks? Do you follow the muse and let the song take you wherever it's gonna go? How quickly did this song come together?

Terry: this song came together really quick, mike's drum licks inspired the guitar riffs. i was thinking jack white doing led zeppelin

HMT: Lastly, how different was the experience of creating this second album compared to the first? Do you utilize video conferencing like Skype when you are going over the music and fine tuning? Have you been able to sit in the same space with Mark and listen to this album together?

Terry: this second album was like a continuation of the first. mike & I are always recording. the time just seemed right & we had a collection of songs that we liked and wanted to share. i haven't been in the same room with mike in several years. we do FaceTime every now & then.

________________________________________________________________________




HMT: Many fans know you from your essential role in Pantera as their frontman for three incredible albums. I know prior to Dimebag's death, there was some talk about a one off reunion show between yourself and the guys in Pantera. Have any thoughts of a reunion circulated since Dimebag's passing? How is your relationship with Rex and Vinny?

Terry: i can't see how there could be a pantera reunion without darrell. he was the heart & soul of the band. i'm good with vinnie & rex. rex & i talk every now & then.

HMT:  I know from past interviews that you've spoken about the influence that Vinny and Dime's father had as the band's manager in getting you guys into recording studios early on. Ironically the Van Halen's also had a similar situation. Do you find a correlation between bands that have family in management and the eventual shake up/break up of bands resulting from that influence?

Terry: i always thought vinnie & dime were very similar to the van halen brothers, growing up & jamming together gave them a unique sound. we were lucky to have jerry abbott helping us out, he was amazing. i think it's natural to want to spread your wings in different directions as you mature & grow.


HMT: As a fan of your work with Lord Tracy, I always felt that you put the music first and never tried to follow whatever was trendy. What is your opinion of bands that came out of the glam or thrash era repackaging themselves to fit whatever trend was happening at the time?

Terry: i think all the greats were trying for the best version of themselves, that's how you have long term success.

HMT: The music industry looks nothing like it did even a decade ago. We have the dichotomy of lower costs to produce music for straight to digital streaming purposes versus people just ripping the music off for free. How does the next Pantera or Lord Tracy have a chance of making it these days?

Terry: You have to not let anything get in the way of your dreams, believe in yourself & keep moving forward.

HMT: You started out playing guitar, did getting on the mic happen out of necessity or did you always have an interest in singing?

Terry: i couldn't sit still. i started on piano, then moved to guitar, then after seeing van halen, i got a cordless mic. i knew i wanted to sing my own songs at an early age.

HMT: You have incredible range, how have you kept your voice in such great shape?

Terry: thanks, just lucky i guess.


HMT: You continue to keep a busy schedule playing regularly with several bands. Do you enjoy having the flexibility to play with whoever you want rather than to be tethered to one band's decisions/direction?

Terry: i would love to be playing with Raised By Gods every night, it's just not possible at the moment. i love playing music & feel so lucky that i get to do it every day.

HMT:  I'm currently seeing several bands reuniting for summer tours where there could be as little as one or even no original members of the band playing greatest hits. Do you feel bands often times water down their legacy by playing way past their expiration date or do you think fans aren't even interested in who's in the band as long as they hear the hits?

Terry: that's a tough one, i feel very lucky when lord tracy gets together with all 4 original members. you can't take it for granted.

(Fans hit me up to ask Terry a few questions, I picked two completely different questions for this portion of the interview)

HMT: Fans hit me up to please ask "what your favorite Pantera song was to perform with the band

(With the Band)
Terry: "All Over Tonite"
(After the Departure)
Terry: "Mouth For War"

HMT: Secondly, a fan asked if you are voting for the next election and if so, who you are voting for?

Terry: yes i'm voting, everybody vote!

HMT: When I mentioned that I was interested interviewing you I heard immediate responses from folks over social media about how much they enjoyed your time with Pantera. Is there anything you'd like to relay to your old school fans? What can we expect from you for the rest of 2016? New recordings, touring(would enjoy seeing you in New England)?

Terry: i was so lucky to grow up with pantera, that's where i got my start. the fans have been so kind to me. thanks to everyone out there.

HMT: What is the best way for fans to follow you?

Terry: www.terryglaze.com
                                                                                                                             
Social Media:
Visit Raised By Gods Official Facebook Page





Album is now available on CDBABY!
Also on Itunes